Cloud Cost Management

What is Cloud Cost Management?

Cloud cost management is the practice of understanding and evaluating the expenses involved in cloud operations to control costs and optimize spending for the best possible value. Cloud cost management involves regulating, optimizing, and monitoring cloud computing costs. In cloud computing, where enterprises use third-party cloud providers to host and operate their digital infrastructure, cost containment is crucial.

Why cloud cost management?

Cloud services enable unprecedented visibility and control over IT resources and costs, but only when IT managers take advantage of the information and tools available to them. The speed, agility, and scalability that make cloud services such a powerful asset can quickly become liabilities if they are used carelessly—it’s easy to exceed IT budgets and overspend on cloud computing without careful planning and attention. Dedicated cloud cost management can help IT decision-makers understand the ongoing costs of cloud computing and optimize their spending for the level of services their organization requires.

Cloud cost management is a comprehensive strategy for using cloud computing resources efficiently and cost-effectively. In the cloud-driven age, it controls expenditures, optimizes cloud infrastructure, and aligns technology investment with business goals, improving an organization's financial health and competitiveness.

Cloud Cost Management discipline includes techniques


  • Cost Control: Setting budgets, spending restrictions, and cloud resource utilization within budget. This is crucial to avoid cost overruns.
  •  Cost optimization: Cloud systems provide flexibility, but this flexibility also carries the risk of wastage. Cost optimization identifies and eliminates wasted resources, right-sizes instances, leverages reserved capacity, and employs usage-based pricing methods.
  • Cost visibility: Gaining a thorough insight into cloud expenditures is crucial. Organizations need to know where their money is going, which resources drive costs, and which teams or projects spend what. It generally entails identifying and classifying materials.
  • Forecasting: Financial planning requires cloud cost predictions. Advanced cost management solutions reliably predict future expenditures using previous data and consumption trends.
  •  Cost Allocation: Multi-tenant or multi-project environments require proper cost allocation to stakeholders. Cost allocation holds teams and departments accountable for cloud spending.
  • Optimal Resource Utilization: To enhance cost-efficiency, it is essential to utilize cloud resources efficiently. This may incorporate serverless computing, containers, or autoscaling to match resource provisioning with demand.
  • Governance and Policies: Cloud cost governance and automation rules ensure cost management and link resource provisioning with enterprise norms.
  • Collaboration: IT, finance, and other departments must work together to control cloud costs. Clear communication and cloud cost comprehension aid company choices.
  • Continuous improvement: Cloud cost management is continuous. Adapting to changing workloads and business demands requires regular strategy monitoring, analysis, and change.
Related HPE Solutions, Products, or Services

What are the advantages of cloud cost management?

Cloud cost management offers several significant benefits for companies functioning in cloud settings. These advantages fall under various categories:

1. Cost-Control:

  • Budget Adherence: It helps firms develop and follow budgets to avoid unnecessary costs and maintain financial stability.
  • Real-time Cost Monitoring: Continuous cloud expenditure monitoring provides early discovery of cost abnormalities and fast correction.


2. Cost-optimization

  • Resource Efficiency: Finding unused resources and right-sizing instances maximizes resource use and reduces waste.
  • Reserved Capacity: Reserved instances or savings plans can save money over on-demand pricing.
  • Pricing Model Optimization: Based on workload, choosing the proper pricing model (pay-as-you-go, spot instances) optimizes expenses.


3. Finance Visibility:

  • Comprehensive Reporting: Cloud cost management technologies give extensive and transparent reporting on cloud spending allocation, letting firms make data-driven decisions.
  • Cost Allocation: Cost attribution to teams, projects, and departments improves financial responsibility and decision-making.


4. Predicting and Planning:

  • Budget Predictability: Forecasting tools assist firms in budgeting for cloud spending.
  • Cost Modeling: Advanced analytics and modeling let companies evaluate situations and make financial decisions.


5. Security and Compliance:

  • Governance standards: Cloud cost management enforces governance standards to meet financial and security requirements.
  • Security Cost Considerations: It helps organizations account for security-related costs, such as encryption and compliance monitoring, in their budgeting and resource allocation.


6. Teamwork and Communication:

  • Cross-functional Collaboration: Cloud cost management promotes IT, finance, and other departments to share cloud expenditures and connect technology investments with business goals.
  • Clear Communication: Organizations can make educated decisions and optimize expenditures with clear cloud cost communication.


7. Constant Improvement:

  • Agile Adaptation: Cloud cost management lets companies adjust to changing business demands and technology. Continuous improvement and cost optimization are supported.


In conclusion, cloud cost management controls optimize and monitor cloud expenditure holistically. Its benefits include better cost management, resource utilization, financial visibility, forecasting, compliance assistance, cooperation, and continuous improvement. These benefits are essential for companies seeking to optimize cloud investment value while preserving financial stability.

Is cloud cost management becoming an issue for businesses?

Organizations migrate from traditional on-premises infrastructure to cloud-based computing for many reasons, including flexibility, scalability, security—and cost. Potential cost savings can be a powerful motivator for cloud migration, but many organizations are unprepared for the actual costs and ongoing expenses of cloud operations.

Cloud migration converts the cost of IT infrastructure from a capital expense to an operational expense. Instead of a large upfront investment in on-premises infrastructure, the costs of cloud computing are distributed over time and can scale up or down easily to meet demands.

But the total cost of cloud services, although often lower than that of legacy infrastructure, may be higher than anticipated. Cloud cost management can help businesses achieve a realistic and accurate understanding of the expenses involved. 

Questions to consider before migrating to the cloud:

  • How do we evaluate cloud costs at all levels of our organization?
  • How do we optimize our spending on cloud resources? 
  • How do we allocate cloud costs at organization and team levels?
  • How will we provision resources after the migration? 
  • How do we monitor and control spending over time?
  • How do we prevent overprovisioning and overspending?

IT administrators are well advised to look—and think—before they leap. Thoughtful, organized cloud cost management will help them do that. 

Cloud cost management strategies

Well-defined cloud cost management strategies include numerous methods and approaches. Here are key strategies for managing cloud costs:


1. Cost Tracking and Visibility:

  • Real-time Monitoring: Utilize cloud cost management solutions to monitor the use of resources and cloud expenses continuously.
  • Resource Tagging: Label resources consistently to manage expenditures and apportion spending.
  • Detailed Reporting: Create and evaluate detailed cost reports to understand cloud budget allocation.


2. Resource Optimization:

  • Right-sizing: Monitor resource utilization and modify resource sizes to fit workload needs to minimize overprovisioning.
  • Spot Instances: For non-critical tasks, use spot instances or other cost-effective pricing models.
  • Serverless Computing: Use containerization and serverless computing to increase resources on demand and reduce idle time.


3. Forecasting and Budgeting:

  • Budgeting: Set realistic cloud expenditure budgets that account for growth and resource demands.
  • Forecasting: Use past data and use trends to estimate cloud expenses for better financial planning.


4. Allocation of costs

  • Granular Cost Attribution: Use resource utilization and labelling to allocate costs across departments, teams, and projects fairly.
  • Showback and Chargeback: Use systems for showback or chargeback to make various stakeholders accountable for costs and to promote cost transparency.


5. Policies and Governance:

  • Cost governance: Set thresholds for resource provisioning, scaling, and de-provisioning rules and frameworks.
  • Approval Workflows: Implement approval workflows for resource provisioning to ensure that requests are aligned with budgetary and business requirements.


6. Reserved Capacity:

  • Reserved Instances (RIs): Use cloud provider RIs or savings plans to commit to specified resource utilization over time, decreasing costs compared to on-demand pricing.
  • Reserved Capacity Planning: Regularly review and adjust reserved capacity to match evolving workloads.


7. Continuous Optimization:

  • Continuous Review: Review and optimize resources and expenses periodically for cloud cost management.
  • Feedback Loops: Include cost concerns in development and deployment by creating feedback loops between development, operations, and finance.


8. Cost-Conscious Culture:

  • Educate Teams: Encourage cost-conscious behavior and educate teams on how their behaviors affect cloud expenses.
  • Collaboration: Encourage IT, finance, and business divisions to work together to match technology expenditures with financial goals.


These cloud cost management solutions help organizations control costs, optimize resource use, and match cloud expenditure with budgetary restrictions and business goals, maximizing cloud investment value.

Cost Management in Multi-Cloud and Hybrid Cloud Environments

Cloud computing requires cost management, especially in multi-cloud and hybrid cloud systems where enterprises use various cloud providers and on-premises and cloud resources. Taking a strategic approach and having a thorough awareness of the difficulties and best practices involved in these complicated settings are necessary for effective cost management. Cost management in multi-cloud and hybrid cloud setups includes several main components:


A. Cost management among cloud providers:

  • Full Cost Visibility: Gain complete visibility into the costs associated with each cloud provider, service, and resource. Cloud cost management tools and dashboards can help aggregate this information.
  • Resource Tagging: Use a standardized tagging technique to identify resources, which will help distribute costs and pinpoint which projects or business units are responsible for paying for expenses.
  • Cost Allocation: Distribute expenses equally among departments, teams, and projects based on resource utilization and tagging.
  • Consolidated Billing: Investigate consolidated billing alternatives with cloud providers to expedite invoicing and negotiate pricing.


B. Cost optimization in hybrid cloud deployments:

  • Resource Right-Sizing: Monitor resource usage to discover over- or under-capacity. Adjust resource sizes to fit workload needs, which can result in considerable cost savings.
  • Reserved instances: Use cloud provider savings plans to commit to certain resource utilization over time, decreasing costs compared to on-demand pricing.
  • Serverless and Containers: Automatically scale resources depending on demand with serverless computing and containerization.
  • Automation: Use automation for resource provisioning and de-provisioning to guarantee that resources are only active when needed, lowering expenses during downtime.



C. Challenges and best practices for multi-cloud cost management:

Cost Attribution:

  • Challenge: Determining cost spikes and distributing costs in multi-cloud settings is difficult.
  • Best Practice: Tagging and cost allocation help accurately allocate expenses to teams, projects, and applications.


Vendor Lock-In:

  • Challenge: Cost optimization across various cloud providers without vendor lock-in is difficult.
  • Best Practice: Prioritize flexibility and data/workload mobility between cloud providers to avoid vendor lock-in.


Cost tracking:

  • Challenge: Cost monitoring is essential yet time-consuming.
  • Best Practice: Use cloud cost management tools and warning systems to detect and address expense abnormalities.


Resources Governance:

  • Challenge: Controlling resource supply and utilization in multi-cloud environments is difficult.
  • Best Practice: Resource governance policies and approval procedures are used to limit resource proliferation.


Managing costs in multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments is a complex but necessary task for organizations looking to optimize their cloud spending. It requires a combination of visibility, resource optimization, and adherence to best practices to ensure cost-efficient operations across multiple cloud providers and hybrid deployments.

Cloud Cost Management Best Practices

Organizations need effective cloud cost management to optimize cloud expenditures and save costs. Best methods for cloud cost management:

A. Developing a cloud cost management strategy:

  • Starting with defined objectives and targets for your cloud cost management plan. Determine your goals—cost reduction, budget predictability, or cost alignment with business results.
  • Create a solid cost allocation plan to assign cloud expenses to business units, initiatives, and departments. This allows accountability and informed decision-making.
  • Label resources with appropriate metadata consistently. Tracking and classifying expenditures via tags.
  • Budget and predict cloud spending. Regularly examine and alter them as cloud usage changes.


B. Finance-IT collaboration:

  • Encourage finance and IT teams to work together to match technology investments with financial goals.
  • Finance teams should use cloud cost data and participate in cost conversations for financial insights and management.
  • Meet with IT and finance regularly to examine cost data, discuss budget deviations, and adjust.


C. Cost management in DevOps:

  • Encourage app designers and builders to consider cost implications when designing and building applications. This involves code optimization, resource selection, and serverless or containerization.
  • Cloud cost monitoring in CI/CD pipeline. Automate cost anomaly alerts to warn teams in real time.
  • Set cost criteria for resource provisioning, scaling, and de-provisioning in DevOps techniques.
  • To include cost concerns in development and deployment, create feedback loops between development and operations teams.


Following these best practices, organizations can develop a complete cloud cost management framework that supports their business goals, encourages teamwork, and smoothly incorporates cost concerns into cloud operations. 


Cloud Cost Management for Business Decision Making

Effective cloud cost management involves both cost control and business considerations. Key elements of cloud cost management for corporate decision-making are as follows:

A. Understanding the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) model:

  • Definition: TCO is a financial model that calculates the cost of buying, operating, and sustaining a technological solution or asset.
  • Application in Cloud: Comparing on-premises and cloud solutions requires TCO analysis. It helps companies assess the long-term costs of cloud services.
  • Decision Making: Businesses can calculate TCO to determine if cloud migration or on-premises infrastructure is cost-effective. It aligns technological investments with strategic goals.


B. Cloud cost analysis for ROI (Return on Investment) assessment:

  • ROI Calculation: ROI is a key statistic that compares investment profits to expenses. ROI is a metric used to assess the financial viability of cloud computing projects or efforts.
  • Components: To determine the return on investment (ROI) for cloud projects, consider expenditures associated with initial migration, continuing operating expenses, income or cost savings realized due to cloud adoption, and the time period over which these advantages accumulate.
  • Risk Assessment: ROI analysis should also account for potential risks and uncertainties, such as changes in cloud pricing, security risks, and business growth projections.
  • Decision Making: A positive ROI indicates that the cloud investment will likely generate value for the organization. It assists in prioritizing and justifying cloud projects and helps in resource allocation.


C. Cost-related factors in cloud vendor selection:

  • Pricing Models: Evaluate the various cloud suppliers' pricing structures, including pay-as-you-go, reserved instances, and spot instances. Choose a model that fits the budget and requirements.
  • Discounts and Commitments: Evaluate cloud suppliers' deals and cost-saving initiatives, such as volume discounts, savings plans, or corporate partnerships.
  • Pricing and billing transparency: Evaluate the transparency of pricing and billing practices. Ensure the vendor offers clear and thorough billing statements for cost tracking and analysis.
  • Service Level Agreements (SLAs): Consider the costs of uptime assurances, performance obligations, and support levels. Understand how increasing service levels affect expenses.
  • Exit Strategy: Factor in the costs and challenges associated with migrating away from a cloud vendor in case you need to switch providers. Vendor lock-in can have cost implications in the long run.


In conclusion, cloud cost management is essential for cloud computing business choices. Understanding TCO, ROI analysis, and cost-related aspects when choosing a cloud provider is crucial to ensure that cloud expenditures meet corporate goals and provide a favorable financial outcome.

HPE and cloud cost management

HPE GreenLake for Continuous Cost Control provides end-to-end visibility of cloud financials, as well as detailed analysis and recommendations for reducing your cloud costs. Based on HPE’s experience from hundreds of successful cloud engagements, the service provides:

  • Full use of the continuous cost control tool across multiple cloud accounts and vendors
  • Monthly/quarterly reports with the guidance of an HPE expert
  • Evaluation of cloud cost performance over time
  • Recommendations on how to better manage and optimize cloud environment costs
  • Business event monitoring to alert on cost increases or decreases over time

HPE Cost Audit for Cloud is a portfolio-level analysis of your current cloud service utilization, providing specific, immediately actionable recommendations for lowering your costs in the cloud, as well best practices and governance strategies for monitoring and managing future cloud expenses. This service can be performed as a one-time evaluation, before or after cloud adoption, or at regular intervals as part of an ongoing cloud cost management strategy.